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And Then They Came For Me

“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” This was a quote from Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who was expressing his regret at not speaking out against the Nazis earlier. There is a great deal of truth in this quote, and it takes a thoughtful person to appreciate its depth and meaning.  What he said applies to what is happening in our country today. We now have a president who is imprisoning refugees in filthy and despicable conditions. These refugees are fleeing for their lives, and they have a legal right to apply for asylum and have judges hear their cases before being thrown out.

Donald Trump’s deplorable behavior and absurd rantings should disgust any decent person, but he is far more dangerous than most people realize. When Adolf Hitler began giving his speeches in beer halls, he would deliberately say things to upset the socialists and communists in his audience. When they grew angry and started throwing beer mugs at him, Hitler had his army buddies drive them outside with clubs and whips, and then the brawls would give him the attention he craved in the press. Well, that is exactly how a Trump rally works, and it isn’t rare for people to get beat up at Trump rallies. In fact, in one rally, Donald Trump said, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?! Seriously! Okay! Just knock the hell……I promise you; I will pay for the legal fees!”

Indeed, in a Vanity Fair article from 1990, Ivana Trump, who was divorcing Mr. Trump, was quoted as saying that Trump kept a book of Hitler’s collected speeches by his bedside. During my research on human bullying, I granted myself the displeasure of reading some of Hitler’s speeches. So far, the only difference that I can see between Trump and Hitler is that Hitler managed to make himself sound more intelligent. The fact that Trump’s rallies resemble Hitler’s early rallies and that he sounds the same tells me that the old Vanity Fair article is accurate. I see no point in overthinking this. What does the writing on the wall say?

Enter Cliven Bundy and the armed militias that prevented the Bureau of Land Management from rounding up his wayward and feral cattle in 2014. Those militias were nuts! They pointed assault rifles at park rangers, had children mixed in with the crowds in front of them, and some of them threatened the hotel workers who were housing federal employees with violence. Later, the Bundys and their armed associates took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge over the re-jailing of the Hammond’s for setting a fire that spread into federal land. Amazingly, when the occupiers had their day in court, they got off. As if all of this wasn’t crazy and tragic enough, it is crystal clear that President Trump is catering to these people. A campaign co-chair of Trump’s, Jerry DeLemus, was arrested in connection with the 2014 armed standoff between the militias and the BLM. Jerry DeLemus was a mid-level organizer on the ground there, and the fact that Jerry DeLemus has a wife that was in New Hampshire’s state legislature strongly suggests that he is a high-profile figure.

Also, Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political advisor, has publicly supported the Bundy family, the militias, and a band of pro-Trump ANTIFA-hating street brawlers known as the Proud Boys. Even worse, he was also photographed meeting in a restaurant with John Ritzheimer, one of the leaders of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Roger Stone is also a regular guest on Alex Jones’s InfoWars program, a show dedicated to promoting outrageous conspiracy theories, such as the story that the school shooting at Sandy Hook was made up by the government to justify gun control legislation.

Trump himself openly supported the Bundy’s and their allies when he pardoned the Hammond’s, giving the occupiers of that wildlife refuge precisely what they wanted. What’s more, at a recent Trump rally in El Paso, Texas, Steward Rhodes, the leader of one of these militia groups (and another one of Alex Jones’s regular guests), could be seen in the front row and center. He wasn’t there by accident either. When you combine all of this with the fact that there is a push to close federal lands and give them to the private sector, it paints a disturbing picture of what might happen if Trump stays in power. Every tyrant creates a band of brutal thugs that will operate outside of the law or any official capacity to do their dirty work for them. Hitler had his SS, Stalin had the NKVD, and the Romanian dictator, Nicolae CeauČ™escu, had his secret police known as the Securitate. It seems that Trump is trying to cobble together something similar.

The fate of conservationists such as myself, public land managers, or any other green-collar might be the same as those Hispanics. I mean, what does the writing on the wall say? This would be especially tragic given the fact that we have trees dying in huge numbers from introduced diseases and pests that they have no immunity to. We should be concerned about this because houses are made of wood, and we will need their expertise if we are to have the slightest chance of saving them. Well, I have something to say, “Let’s treat the people at our border like people! If you do not, you may be creating your own demise, and don’t create the demise of my friends and myself either!”

Sources & Further Reading

  1. “Martin Niemoller: “First They Came For The Socialists…”” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Holocaust Encyclopedia.
  2. Aguilera, Jasmine. “Trump’s New Restrictions on Asylum Seekers Violate U.S. and International Law, Experts Say.” Time: U.S. Immigration 24 July, 2019.
  3. Hitler the Rise of Evil: Full Film. Dir. Christian Duguay. CBC & CBS, 2003. 152 min.
  4. “Trump: ‘Knock the Crap’ Out of Tomato Throwers.” The Washington Post: Politics 1 February, 2016.
  5. Brenner, Marie. “After The Gold Rush.” Vanity Fair: From the Archives. 1 September, 1990.
  6. Interview with Sniper in Bundy Standoff: The Independent. You Tube, 2014.
  7. News NOW / KLAS-TV8 Cliven Bundy Compilation: Adams, Matthew. YouTube, 2 July, 2014. /watch v=FTGHFzkmoBc
  8. Mesquite City Police Department. Police Report Incident # 140411-20. 11 April, 2014: 1-4. 
  9. Burris, Sarah K. “Indicted Bundy Ranch Militant Hand-Picked by Team Trump as Delegate to GOP Convention.” Raw Story 20 March, 2016.
  10. Neiwert, David. “Militiamen and Oathkeepers Drew Weapons, Threatened to Kill Each Other.” Southern Poverty Law Center 2 May 2014.
  11. Roger Stone ~ I Call on President Trump to Pardon Cliven Bundy and His Supporters: J Grady. YouTube, 16 July, 2017.
  12. Santiago, Ellyn. “Roger Stone & The Proud Boys: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” com: News 30 January,2019.
  13. Brown, Tim. “Report: Former Trump Campaign Adviser Seeks Pardon For Bundy Patriots.” From the Trenches World Freedom Outpost 8 August, 2017.
  14. “Roger Stone Appears on Capitol Hill with Alex Jones.” ABC News
  15. Steward Rhodes of Oath Keepers & Alex Jones Discuss Democrat Schemes to Ban Guns: Doc Casull. 9 December 2015.
  16. Lopez, Cristina G. “The Founder of This Extremist Armed Militia Had a Front-Row Seat to Trump’s Rally.” Media Matters for America 12 February 2019.
  17. Hanke, Steve. “Follow the Founders and Privatize Public Lands.” Forbes: Policy 17 December 2017.
  18. Utah’s Freedom Conference: Liberty and Prosperity Through Sovereignty:
  19. American Lands Council. Access-Health-Productivity:
  20. Casey, Tina. “Cliven Bundy’s Lawyer Hits Up Koch Brothers For Cash.” Triple Pundit 25 May 2016. /2016/05/cliven-bundy-lawyer-hits-koch-bros-defense/
  21. Sudden Oak Death: University of California Television (UCTV). YouTube, 16 January 2008.

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About Author

Kevin L. Reichling is a naturalist. He has written articles for Lets Talk Nevada, the Boulder City Review, and the Wilmington News Journal on environmental and political issues. He worked for a state park as a naturalist, for the National Park Service on an exotic plant control crew, and at a county park as a conservation technician. In college, he majored in wildlife management and educates others on environmental and social issues.

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